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Safe Pain Medication Prescribing Guidelines - County of San Diego

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SAFE PAIN MEDICATION PRESCRIBING GUIDELINES
Prescription drug abuse has been declared an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control.
According to 2012 San Diego Medical Examiner data, the number one cause of non-natural
death is due to drug overdoses and exceeds the number of deaths in motor vehicle
crashes. The majority of these deaths are from prescription drugs.
The following guidelines are a collection of recommendations developed by the San Diego
County Medical Society Prescription Drug Abuse Medical Task Force and draws on
experience of various groups across the country. These are guidelines, not policies and up
to physician discretion.
A. CURES REPORTS
California's database for controlled substances is known as the Controlled
Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System, C.U.R.E.S.
To obtain access to the California Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, PDMP
System, you must register electronically at
https://pmp.doj.ca.gov/pmpreg/RegistrationType_input.action
Realize that data in CURES may be delayed by 2 weeks and is not consistently
uploaded by all pharmacies. The VA system and Naval Medical Center do not
upload data to CURES.
You can arrange to sign up a large group of providers at one time by having DEA
representative come to your location. Contact CURES office for details.
B. PAIN ASSESSMENT
It is common to document a pain scale for 1 to 10 according to the patient's
assessment. It is helpful to include a functional description of any limitations on patient's
activities due to pain.
In an acute setting describe patient's function and mobility.
In the chronic setting, assess risks versus benefits for opioid prescribing with
Screening Assessment Tools such as the McGill General Pain Disability Index, SOAPP-R, ORT
Questionnaire, or others. See link on Screening and Monitoring Tools.
C. ACUTE PAIN TREATMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Dosing For Acute Pain
Patients with acute pain and who require opioids, should receive short acting
opioids, with the least number of pills needed to cover the time for pain
recovery and to minimize potential diversion or sharing of medication.
In the emergent setting, prescribe only 10-15 tablets of a short acting opioid.
Prescription Drug Abuse Medical Task Force
Safe Pain Medication Prescribing Guidelines
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SAFE PAIN MEDICATION PRESCRIBING GUIDELINES
2. Dosing For Opioid Naive Patients
Start with a short acting opioid with a maximum dose of 4 times day
Be careful not exceed recommended maximum for acetaminophen of 3000mg
per day.
TYLENOL # 3 (30 mg codeine/ 300 mg acetaminophen)
30 mg codeine = 3.6 mg hydrocodone = 3.6 mg oxycodone
VICODIN (hydrocodone/ acetaminophen) - Use 5 mg
5 mg hydrocodone = 27.5 mg codeine = 3.3 mg oxycodone
NORCO (hydrocodone/ acetaminophen) - Use 5mg
LORTAB (hydrocodone/ acetaminophen) - Use 5mg
PERCOCET/ ENDOCET (oxycodone/ acetaminophen) - Use 5mg
5 mg oxycodone = 7.5 mg of hydrocodone = 41.3 mg codeine
Maximum of 12 tablets a day for 5 mg
TRAMADOL/ ULTRAM
Start with IR 50mg mg q 4-6 hours (Maximum 400 mg/ day)
Do not use if patient has liver disease, renal disease, is on Tricyclics, or on
SSRI.
High Abuse Potential
This medication does not show up on CURES reports and can be refilled,
unlike the Vicodin or Percocet prescriptions.
This is available OTC in Mexico.
Deaths have been reported in patients with emotional disturbances and
misuse of alcohol, tranquilizers, and other CNS active drugs
3. Register for CURES and run a CURES report on patients who may have prescriptions
from other sources to ensure you are not overprescribing.
D. EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT PAIN TREATMENT
The San Diego County Medical Society Emergency Medicine Oversight Commission has a
consensus chronic pain prescription guideline. Please refer to the Medical Society Web
Site for detailed information. Refer to documented titled "Narcotic Guidelines".
www.sdcms.org/san-diego-county-emergency-medical-oversight-commission/sandiego-county-emergency-medical-oversight
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SAFE PAIN MEDICATION PRESCRIBING GUIDELINES
E. CHRONIC PAIN TREATMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Who Should Sign A Pain Medication Agreement?
It is recommended that the following patients sign a pain medication agreement:
Any patient on short acting opioid at time of third visit
Any patient on long acting opioid
Any patient expected to require more than 3 months of opioids
Note: A pain medication agreement was developed by the San Diego County Prescription
Drug Abuse Medical Task Force, in collaboration with other partners, including the county
health department. This model agreement is available for your use.
2. Use the Flow Diagram for Chronic Pain Treatment.
See the attached flow diagram for general treatment recommendations
3. Conduct A Pain Assessment Tool / Opioid Risk Tool
There are various Tools available for Initial Assessment, upon initiating Pain
Agreement, and for On Going Follow Up and Monitoring.
See Link for Screening and Monitoring Tools
4. Register / Run CURES Reports
It is recommended to review CURES data from previous 6 - 12 months at initial
appointment for chronic pain treatment.
Review data for report of lost prescriptions, requests for early refills, escalating
of pain, and at provider's discretion. Some pain specialists review data at each
appointment.
5. Use Drug Screens
Use as an initial screening tool when considering prescribing an opioid.
Consider for all patients with a pain agreement at the time of initial pain
evaluation, at 3 months, and randomly at your discretion considering each
individual risk and benefit profile.
Evaluate to see that prescribed medications are positive. If the patient is not
positive for the medications prescribed then the medication is either (a) not
being used safely such as overuse at the beginning of the month and running
out early, or (b) being diverted.
Evaluate for illegal drugs or drugs that were not prescribed.
Note that the Pain Agreement devised by the San Diego County Prescription
Drug Abuse Medical Task Force states that use of illegal drugs is grounds to
discontinue pain medication and refer to addiction medicine or other
appropriate specialist.
Prescription Drug Abuse Medical Task Force
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SAFE PAIN MEDICATION PRESCRIBING GUIDELINES
F. CHRONIC PAIN DOSING RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Dosing For Patient Requiring More Than 4 Times a Day Medication.
If medication is required more than four times a day refer the patient to pain
management or switch to a long acting opioid with the starting doses below.
If a switch is made to a long acting opioid, the need to continue a short acting
opioid could be considered for break through pain. Remember to consider the
short acting opioid as part of the total dose and avoid using more than 4 times a
day.
If there are frequent request for increases in doses or non-compliance, the
patient should be referred to a pain specialist for treatment evaluation and
plan.
Starting Doses are as follows:
Titration to long acting opioids can be difficult. It is best to start at lower
doses and have a sooner follow up to evaluate effect and prevent
complications. Numerous conversion tables are available, but always allow
for cross-tolerance between medications. When rotating opioids, lower the
new medication by at least 10-25%.
Morphine (12 hour release) 15 mg bid
Morphine (24 hour release) 30 mg per day
Fentanyl patch 12.5 mcq every 72 hours
Methadone 5 mg bid
Oxycodone 10 mg bid
2. Maximum Recommended Doses Prescribed by a Primary Care Provider for Chronic
Benign Pain before specialist consultation.
Consider referral to a pain specialist or other appropriate specialist if the patient
requires more than the following dosage:
Morphine 120 mg/day
Fentanyl patch 50 mcg/ 72 hours
Methadone 40 mg/day
Oxycodone 80 mg/day
Prescription Drug Abuse Medical Task Force
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SAFE PAIN MEDICATION PRESCRIBING GUIDELINES
3. Medications to Avoid.
The following medications are not recommended for chronic benign pain without specialist
consultation:
Rapid Onset Fentanyl Products
Abstral (fentanyl) sublingual tablets
Actiq (fentanyl citrate) oral transmucosal lozenges
Fentora (fentanyl citrate) buccal tablets
Lazanda (fentanyl) nasal spray
Onsolis (fentanyl) buccal soluble film
Subsys fentanyl) sublingual spray
G. WEANING OPIATES
Opiates should be weaned and discontinued when the risks outweigh the benefits
and when the patient is not maintaining or improving function.
Patients treated for acute pain with opioids should be instructed to decrease their
doses and discontinue as soon as possible.
Patient on chronic opioids can be placed on a weaning protocol. One weaning
protocol can be found in the Interagency Guideline on Opioid Dosing for Chronic
Non-cancer Pain (p 10.). See Link.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, but are not dangerous. Opioids
can be stopped abruptly when the risks outweigh the benefits. This is not true for
benzodiazepine withdrawal. Benzodiazepine withdrawals can be life threatening.
H. SIDE EFFECT MANAGEMENT
1. Constipation
It is recommended to mange constipation proactively. You may want to prescribe a
stool softener/laxative in conjunction with opioids, especially in the elderly
population, as opioids will reduce gastric and intestinal motility.
2. Somnolence. Reduce dose of narcotic. Find out if the patient is taking excess
medication, using alcohol, or mixing other medication, which increases risk of somnolence.
I. CONCOMITANT PRESCRIPTIONS
1. Acetaminophen
Should not exceed more than 3 gram per day;
Patients with liver impairment should not exceed more than 2 g per day.
2. Benzodiazepines
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Concomitant use of long acting narcotics and benzodiazepines is not recommended
due to risk of mortality.
Taper benzodiazepines and consider psychiatric consultation if there is an anxiety
component to the patient’s perception of their pain.
SAFE PAIN MEDICATION PRESCRIBING GUIDELINES
3. Medical Marijuana
Concomitant use of marijuana is not recommended.
New patients who admit to using marijuana or who have a positive marijuana
screen should not be given opiates unless they agree to discontinue marijuana
4. Phenergan
Concomitant use of Phenergan with codeine in a cough suppressant formulation is
not recommended due to its recreation abuse potential as "Purple Fizz".
Use alternative nausea medications such as Reglan, Compazine, or Zofran.
5. Soma (Carisoprodol)
This medication should be avoided due to high potential for abuse and diversion.
An alternative muscle relaxant can be used such as baclofen, flexeril, zanaflex, or
robaxin.
6. Barbiturates
Avoid use due to additive sedation effects
7. Seroquel (Quetiapine)
This medication has potential for abuse.
J. RED FLAGS FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABSUE AND FRAUD
Published by the CURES program
Patient requesting specific controlled substances
Repeatedly running out of medication early
Unscheduled refills requested
Unwillingness to try non-opioid treatments
Engaging in doctor shopping activities
J. DEA REPORTING
You are encouraged to report suspected doctor shopping and prescription fraud to
the DEA. Prescription fraud includes being dishonest with how a medication is
taken. If you suspect doctor shopping or diversion, please report to:
DEA Diversion: 858-616-4100
Email to DEA: [email protected]
Name of patient
Date of birth of patient
Location of occurrence
Suspicion
Prescription Drug Abuse Medical Task Force
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SAFE PAIN MEDICATION PRESCRIBING GUIDELINES
It is helpful for DEA if you document the following in your medical record:
- When patient states he last received prescription for controlled substance and by
which doctor.
- It is helpful to have a copy of the patient’s ID card.
- Patients who lie about when their last prescription was filled are guilty of
narcotic fraud.
- For patients who are argumentative, do NOT feel compelled to write an opioid
prescription, even for a small amount. If you have any concerns for the patient's safety,
document the interaction, and then call the DEA.
If you are contacted by a DEA investigator who is evaluating a potential
fraud, please cooperative with the investigation. They may have simple questions that
are not time consuming to find out whether your patient has been doctor shopping or
committing fraud. Their investigation may lead to court mandated addiction treatment.
K. ADDICTION REFERRALS
If you need to dismiss a patient for not honoring treatment agreements, consider this
referral source for addiction:
San Diego County Access & Crisis Line: (888) 724-7240.
This 24-hr/7 day a week hotline can provide information about low cost or sliding
scale residential and non-residential drug treatment services.
LINK: County of San Diego Health and Human Services Alcohol and Drug Services
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SAFE PAIN MEDICATION PRESCRIBING GUIDELINES
L. EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS
ASIPP Opioid Guidelines 2012 - Part I
ASIPP Opioid Guidelines 2012 - Part II
Agency Medical Director's Group. Interagency Guideline on Opioid Dosing for
Chronic Non-cancer Pain. 2010 update.
Screening and Monitoring Tools
Six Opioid Safety Steps (SOS)
Power Point on CDC and San Diego County Deaths from Prescription Drug Abuse
Street Value of Prescription Medication
San Diego Prescription Drug Abuse Report Card
Dental Prescription Drug Abuse Information: http://www.ada.org/7541.aspx
National Institute on Drug Abuse. www.drugabuse.gov/nidamed-medicalhealth-professionals
San Diego Prescription Drug Abuse Medical Task Force
These guidelines were developed by the San Diego County Medical Society Prescription
Drug Abuse Medical Task Force, which includes members from the following medical
community stakeholders:
San Diego County Medical Society
Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties
San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency
San Diego County Dental Association
San Diego Psychiatric Association
San Diego Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force
Kaiser
Sharp
Scripps
UCSD
Community Clinics
Prescription Drug Abuse Medical Task Force
Safe Pain Medication Prescribing Guidelines
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